Enbridge Inc. announced plans Thursday to submit an application to the state of Alaska to compete for a commercial agreement to build and operate the in-state portion of the Alaska Highway Pipeline Project from Prudhoe Bay to the Alaska-Yukon border.

Enbridge said it is interested in becoming an equity partner in a consortium that will jointly build and operate the project. It also said it is exploring opportunities to be involved in the development of the Canadian portion of the project from the Alaskan border to markets in Canada and the United States.

“Enbridge is well positioned to participate as a key partner in the Alaska Highway Pipeline Project,” said Enbridge CEO Patrick D. Daniel. “Our expansive reach into North American energy markets, combined with our significant natural gas expertise and experience with both liquids and natural gas systems in the far North, are solid foundations for a partnership to deliver Alaskan energy to continental markets. As such, we intend in the coming weeks to file an application with the state to formalize our position as an interested participant in the proposed Alaska Highway Pipeline Project.”

The company cited its ownership of the world’s longest crude oil and liquids pipeline system, its ownership of Canada’s largest gas distribution company, its stake in the Alliance (50%) and Vector (60%) pipeline systems and its experience through its Norman Wells liquids pipeline and Inuvik Gas building and operating oil and gas pipelines in northern permafrost.

Enbridge’s decision to throw its hat in the Alaska pipeline ring comes only a week after a group led by Berkshire Hathaway’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings dropped out of the competition because the state failed to meet its terms that would have allowed it to move forward on an accelerated schedule with an exclusive five-year development period (see Daily GPI, April 1, March 26). The MidAmerican application called for the construction of a 745-mile, 48-inch diameter pipeline (4.5 Bcf/d) from the North Slope southward to the Yukon border, with an in-service date of 2010.

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